Living After the Loss

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How can the tragic, totally unexpected death of a 17-year-old young man produce anything good?

What possible value could there be in the loss of such a young life? How can a parent cope with the overwhelming sorrow that accompanies such a horrendous event?

Losing a child whom you deeply love has to be one of the most traumatic experiences that a parent can face. The huge destructive waves caused by December’s tsunami in the Indian Ocean are analogous to the devastating waves of grief that a parent is forced to endure. Your mind and soul are mercilessly pummeled by massive amounts of an anguish that is overpowering.

The agony of the emotional pain is absolutely excruciating. These onslaughts of continual heartache threaten to drown you in a sea of hopeless despair.

All of these words were a grim reality in my life on June 29, 2004. On that mournful day, my precious 17-year-old “Troy-boy” was killed in a horrific motorcycle accident. But thanks to the foundation of God’s Word, my family and I have been graciously sheltered over the months from this wicked storm of grief.

The supernatural ability of the Scripture to comfort, sustain and strengthen completely astounds me. Having God’s Word as your foundation makes all the difference whenever the tsunami “grief waves” come crashing into your life.

Due to the immense comfort that God has granted me and my family, I have earnestly prayed that we could somehow use our tragic experience to minister to others. Here are some highlights of how God has already answered that prayer.

  • Two days after the accident, we went to the home of the man who collided with our son. We extended to him our full forgiveness and shared the gospel with him and his wife.

  • During our son’s memorial service we were able to proclaim the gospel to hundreds of people in attendance. I also preached a sermon several weeks later on the subject of “Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One.” Many more people were comforted by that message.

  • I had another opportunity to boldly proclaim the gospel in an article that I wrote for our local newspaper. Since my son’s accident had received front-page coverage, my article was widely read by thousands of people.

  • Our local newspaper did another front-page story on our tragedy. Rather than highlighting the accident, however, this article highlighted my faith. Once again our foundation was being put on display.

  • As a result of that front-page article, a local television station (KDKA Channel 2) came and did an interview with me. They, too, proclaimed our Christian foundation to an audience of thousands of people.

  • Our most extensive outreach, however, came through an interview that we had with our dear friends at AiG-US. That interview was put on audio CD and mailed nationwide. Ken Ham, AiG-US president, informed us that it would be sent to about 70,000 people. Now the LORD was using our experience to minister to tens of thousands of people.

The Zitzmans with Ken Ham
Frank and Sue Zitzman shared their heart-wrenching yet encouraging testimony with AiG-US president Ken Ham when they visited our new studios last year.

In fact, AiG recently sent me a letter telling me that someone who was blessed by the CD had made 100 copies and was giving them away.

A lady, named Becky, was blessed by the CD and emailed us her words of appreciation. She said, “Knowing you can make it through this gives me hope that if this would happen to us that, with God, we can to.”

Becky explained that she had three boys, and that her youngest son’s name is Troy. She calls him “little boy Troy” and hopes that he will be able to influence as many peoples’ lives as our Troy-boy has. Tears of joy filled my eyes as I read those words. What a blessing to realize that our testimony has given confidence and hope to this young family!!!

God has led me to tearfully prepare a two-message series that I call “Living after the loss.” The purpose of this series is to share the biblical principles that have enabled me and my family to endure this tragic time in our life. I strongly believe that equipping people with these principles will enable them to cope with the loss of a loved one.

I recently shared this series at Grace Bible Church in Chicago. In addition to the series, I provided the church with a “Foundation-Building Starter Pack” (FBSP). The “FBSP” is a display of 12 different AiG witnessing booklets that have greatly contributed to my solid foundation. I also took along several of AiG’s “Why did he die?” CD mail-outs that feature our interview with Ken.

People were moved, encouraged and challenged by my messages. The AiG materials were literally devoured by the congregation. I praise the LORD for yet another opportunity to proclaim His Word and to minister to others.

Please pray for me as I continue to walk through any witnessing doors that the LORD may open. My ultimate passion is to declare the all-sufficient power of God’s Word to sustain and comfort. Without question, the Scripture is “INFINITELY SUPERIOR” to any therapy, counsel, or program that man has to offer!

The fallible, ever-changing philosophies of men cannot provide the stability and security that is needed when the storms of life terrorize you. Sadly, many people become passengers on the vulnerable rowboat of man’s opinion instead of climbing aboard the secure ocean liner of God’s Truth. Tragically, when the next tsunami “grief wave” hits, their tiny rowboat is capsized, and they become helpless victims in the midst of pounding waves.

How thankful I am that the Word of God does not change!!! Its unswerving Truth continues to be a reliable source of strength and comfort. What a precious refuge we have in the dependable and trustworthy Scripture! The Word of the One who knows everything is still providing safe passage through the stormy waters of grief and despair. I know that is true because I have ridden-and am riding-in that unsinkable boat. My passionate desire is to tell others of the peace and safety that it provides.


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